Italy’s Gianni Moscon first experienced the Tour of Flanders last spring, finishing an impressive second in the Under 23 race behind Australia’s Alex Edmondson. It was his first taste of the Flemish Classics.
This year Moscon is back in Belgium, riding the 100th edition of men’s Tour of Flanders as part of a powerful Team Sky line-up. He is already captivated by the cobbles and steep climbs of Flanders and by their difficulty and history.
“Racing on the cobbles is just uplifting. It’s difficult to explain what it means. For me the history of the cobbled Classics, the history of the cobbled roads we race, is a big factor in making them so special,” Moscon told Gazzetta dello Sport, revealing his appreciation for the occasion as well as his love of the Classics.
“The history of the Classics helps you compare yourself against the riders of the past, who attacked or simply impressed on the cobbles. It also allows you to hope that one day, even you might manage to do it too.”
Moscon is a neo-pro and will only turn 22 on April 20th, when the Classic will be over but he has earned his place alongside Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski thanks to a series of consistent rides in the early part of the season. He was eighth in the Nokere Koerse race that covers many of the same roads as the Tour of Flanders and 18th at the tough Strade Bianche. Last week he finished in third place overall in the Coppi e Bartali stage race.
Moscon will no doubt have a support role at Team Sky on Sunday but it would not be a surprise to see him in the thick of the action and possibly even in the finale of the race. He is keen to give his all.
“I often ask myself when I get dropped if it’s simply my legs that can’t push out enough power or if my mind can’t manage to put up with the pain. How can you be sure that you’ve given your all?” he asked.
“I hope I don’t have that question in my mind for several days after the Tour of Flanders. Though I suppose only the rider who wins doesn’t have to answer any questions about their performance. In the meantime, I’m going to keep on training and suffering like the rider that are stronger than me.”